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Young storytellers promote sustainnovation thru documentary films 

This year’s Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition sought to gather stories that champion green technologies and their impact on biodiversity – highlighting the value of three vital concepts: innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. 

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People of all ages have the power to join all sorts of movements that aim to forward sustainable actions and challenge existing works that go against sustainability. But the youth of today seem to understand better than anyone the urgent need to advocate for it, and, more importantly, to act towards it. 

This is what the Filipino youth have proven as many of them joined the 7th Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition, courtesy of the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI). 

Anchored on the theme, “Sustainnovation: Harnessing Science and Technology towards a Greener Community,” this year’s Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition sought to gather stories that champion green technologies and their impact on biodiversity – highlighting the value of three vital concepts: innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. 

Guided by this theme, the documentary film entries captured diverse sustainnovation stories of Filipino businesses, most of which were startup companies, that mainly forward the effective use of innovative strategies to improve their works and advance sustainability. 

Among the topics covered were sustainable solutions to farming and crop cultivation, fish production and livelihood, power generation, water supply and conservation, plastic recycling, and waste management. 

Besting a great number of film entries that feature stories of innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship, 10 short documentaries emerged to become the top finalists of the competition, as screened by the Indie-Siyensya board of judges composed of esteemed filmmakers and science experts.  

Below are the finalists for the Youth and Open Categories: 

Youth Category:    

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  1. Anigham – Jerick Marc Laurence C. Grimaldo (Hello Team Production/ Quezon Science High School)  
  2. Plugged in for Progress: The Power 4 All Mission – Dominicq Emanuelle B. Peña (Power 4 All/ Mapua University)  
  3. Ruta –James Mark D. Caponpon (Alukkana Productions/ Las Pinas City National Science High School)  
  4. Semilya –John Marck B. Palpal-Latoc (Rizal National Science High School)  
  5. 3Cs Coconut: Cultivation and Culture – Carlos Miguel P. Enriquez (Luis Palad Integrated High School) 

Open Category:  

  1. Biyaya Mula Sa Abo – Marvin C. Gabas (KnightVision Multimedia Production) 
  2. Kakasa ba? – Val Allen U. Eltagonde(Aghamulat Productions, Ateneo de Manila University)  
  3. Out of Sight Out of Mind – Nathan M. Gumba (Ankelbiter Prod)  
  4. Re/F/use (Refused to Reuse) – Leighton D. Angcan (LA Films)  
  5. Sagbot sa Dagat – Frankie James Balos (Dalumat Productions)  

The documentary films were assessed according to the following criteria: a) scientific content, which refers to the accuracy, veracity, and significance of the film’s topic, and its adherence to the theme; b) execution of idea, which refers to the way the film’s key message was communicated; and c) the use of film techniques, which refers to the film’s visual design, writing/story, and sound. 

Taking off as part of the 2023 National Science, Technology, and Innovation Week (NSTIW) celebration, the shortlisted films will premiere from November 22 to 26, 2023 at the Cinematheque Centre Iloilo. 

The films will also be screened simultaneously at other Cinematheque Centres nationwide such as in Manila, Davao, Nabunturan, and Negros. The free screening is made possible in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).  

For the second time in a row, Indie-Siyensya will also be available on JuanFlix from November 27 to December 1, 2023. JuanFlix, formerly known as the FDCP channel, is an online streaming platform that feature classic Filipino films and special selections from recently conducted local film festivals.  

Viewers must register at to watch the entries for free. They will also have the chance to vote for their favorite films on the said platform. 

Indie-Siyensya is one of the first science filmmaking competitions in the Philippines, pioneered by DOST-SEI to promote science and technology culture among the youth using film as a medium. It has two categories – the Youth Category for high school, tertiary school, and out-of-school youth aged 13-18 and the Open Category for college students, teachers, and S&T professionals at least 19 years old. 

This year, winners for both categories will receive Php 200,000 for the Best Film, Php 150,000 for the 2nd Place, and Php 100,000 for the 3rd Place. The Awarding Ceremony is scheduled on December 12 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. 

“For the past six years, Indie-Siyensya has nurtured the youth’s passion to tell stories, create documentary films, and join science festivals that seek to inform and educate the public about certain issues of society. And with this, we hope that they will remain to see films as a product of careful scientific research, a potent tool needed to solve the current and future needs of our communities,” said DOST-SEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo.  

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